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New technology reduces earthquake damage to buildings

Imperial College Innovations looks to commercialise new device for improving the structural earthquake resistance of buildings.

A novel device that may help to save lives by improving the stability of buildings and preventing structural damage during traumatic events such as earthquakes has been patented by Imperial College Innovations Limited.

Known as the Khonsar Connection, the device is a replaceable energy-dissipating structural connection that overcomes the limited ability of conventional joints to protect walls and building frames from damage. The device is fitted between beams and columns and acts as a sponge, soaking up the energy and protecting the structure of the building from damage. The Khonsar connection contains the damage and prevents it from spreading in beams and columns.

After an earthquake or explosion, most buildings often require expensive building work or demolition. The Khonsar connection is a simple and cheap and it can reduce the cost of after-event repair substantially. The Khonsar connection provides a revolutionary approach in the field of sustainable building.

Potential applications for the Khonsar connection include off-shore platforms and nuclear power plants as well as other construction markets.

"The Khonsar Connection has huge potential benefits in terms of increased confidence in the ability of buildings and structures to withstand events such as earthquakes and explosions, consequently saving both lives and property," said Susan Searle, Director of Science and Engineering at Imperial College Innovations.

Originally developed by visiting academic Dr Vahid Khonsari, within the Department of Civil Engineering at the Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, responsibility for commercialising the Khonsar Connection is being handled by Imperial College Innovations, who are currently looking for a partner to manufacture and sell the device.

For more information please contact:

Jasmine Pandher
Imperial College Innovations
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7594 6598
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7589 3553

Notes to editor:

1. Imperial College Innovations Ltd. (IC Innovations) is the wholly-owned technology development company of the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine (London, UK), renowned as one of the UKs top three universities for research quality.

2. IC Innovations is the Fund Manager for the Imperial College University Challenge Seed Fund, and is currently creating companies at the rate of one per month. The company is organised into two executive teams to cover Biosciences, and Science and Engineering.

A subsidiary company, Imperial College Company Maker Ltd., has been established to create and support spin-out companies commercialising technologies arising from Imperial Colleges various research programmes.

3. The Khonsar connector was developed by Dr Vahid Khonsari from the Sharif University in Tehran, Iran. All rights to the invention have been assigned to Imperial College Innovations Limited.